From Bad to Worse

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Just when you thought things could not get any worse for the Chicago Cubs, they did. Fresh off placing lead off hitter Emilio Bonifacio on the disabled list with a right oblique strain, the Cubs may now be facing another devastating injury. Unfortunately, this injury affects one of the better aspects of the team, their young bullpen.

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Before you laugh, the Cubs young bullpen has been pretty good. With Brian Schlitter, Pedro Strop and Neil Ramirez setting up for new closer Hector Rondon, the bullpen has been solid. They have actually kept the Cubs in games when trailing, and for the most part kept them in the lead when they actually had a late lead. Unfortunately, the bullpen might have suffered a devastating blow.

Last night, Ramirez closed out the Cubs victory over the Philadelphia Phillies because Rondon was unavailable due to an elbow injury. At the moment, his injury is only listed as elbow soreness, but with his history, you have to be at least a little concerned. If you remember, Rondon is a Tommy John surgery alum, so anytime there is a cause for concern with the elbow, you have to be at least a little worried. Best case scenario, he just has a tired arm and the elbow issue is a total non factor. I would really hate to see  him go down after watching him develop as nicely as he has. Hopefully, all he needs is a few days of rest and can return to normal activity on the mound. Unfortunately though, I think the Cubs are going to play things safe with him because of how good he has been and place him among the walking wounded already on the disabled list.

With Rondon likely out of action for at least a short period of time, Ramirez will likely side into the closers role. I have no problem with this as Ramirez is nasty as can be. He has filthy stuff and has been nothing short of amazing since being called up to the Major Leagues. So far, he is the crowned jewel of the Matt Garza trade, because Mike Olt has been less than impressive, despite his power and C.J. Edwards is still in the Minor Leagues. I love the idea of Ramirez in the closer role if Rondon cannot go.

Much like with the timing being “perfect” when Ryan Sweeney was ready to come off the disabled list because they were putting Bonifacio on, putting Rondon on the DL comes at the “perfect” time because Zac Rosscup is ready to come off the disabled list now too. Doesn’t that just figure? One Cubs player gets healthy just when another one is breaking. Typical Cubs luck if you ask me.

If Rosscup was not ready to come off the disabled list, the Cubs could have been looking at recalling Blake Parker, or in my fantasy land I would have thought the Cubs would have given consideration to calling up Arodys Vizcaino who is looking very good right now in the minors. Granted, he is pitching well while in the minors, but he is showing that he is healthy and that is the biggest reason for excitement. Because of his injury history however, the Cubs may not want to rush him. After all, this is the first year he has actually pitched anywhere since 2011. Calling him up to replace Rondon (if he does go on the disabled list) is unlikely because of their being patient and making sure he is fully healthy. If anything, a September call up is most likely with him competing for a spot on the 2015 ball club.

Because the Cubs are still a man heavy in the bullpen, they may be able to wait a little while before making any official decision. That being the case, I expect them to place Rondon on the disabled list tomorrow after the game with Rosscup meeting the team in Miami. Possible good news is that Rondon is not worried.

More good news… after throwing, Rondon felt fine.

I still think they do a precautionary disabled list move, retroactive to June 6 just to play things safe and decide who should be sent down to make room for Russcup. Sadly, that might be Schlitter or Justin Grimm.

The injured list for the Cubs is growing, and the team is being filled with minor league players. More are on the way though as the trade deadline approaches.

UPDATE: Looks like the Cubs dodged a bullet

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